Vampire therapy

We all probably wonder why we are stronger and mentally more agile when young, well, it has been discovered that a ‘youth protein,’ which circulates in the blood is responsible for keeping the brain and muscles young and strong. This protein is present in the bloodstream in large quantities when we are young but peters out as we age.
However, scientists have found that transfusions of young blood actually ‘recharges’ the brain, forms new blood vessels and improves memory and learning and have an amazing capacity to restore aging muscle and brain function. Although both discoveries were made in mice, researchers are hoping to begin human trials in the next two to three years, in studies, which could bring rapid improvements for human longevity and health.
In the study, the blood of three-month-old mice was repeatedly injected into 18-month-old mice near the end of their natural life span. The “vampire therapy” improved the performance of the elderly mice in memory and learning tasks. Structural, molecular and functional changes were also seen in their brains.
If the same are seen in humans, it could lead to new therapies for recharging our aging brains and novel drugs for treating dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Ageing mice given eight infusions of young blood over three weeks improved their performance in mental tests of fear condition and locating a hidden platform in a water maze. Evidence was seen of new connections forming in the hippocampus – a brain region vital to memory and sensitive to ageing and dendritic spines – finger-like extensions from the branches of neurons that are thought to play a role in memory formation also became more dense.
Infusions of blood from other elderly mice had no effect, the study, published in the Journal Nature.
Although the treatments tested here rejuvenate certain aspects of learning and memory in mice, these studies are of unknown significance to humans.


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